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War against Pakistan is not the solution: Pranab

December 11, 2008 15:48 IST

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Slamming Pakistan for linking Mumbai attacks to non-resolution of Kashmir issue, India on Thursday asked it to take 'serious' action to completely dismantle terror infrastructure and end infiltration but maintained that war against the neighbour was not a solution.

Talking tough in the Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee raised questions over Pakistan's sincerity in curbing activities of terror groups operating from its soil as he suggested that house arrest of Lashkar-e-Tayiba chief Hafiz Moammed Saeed was not enough.

Intervening in the debate in Lok Sabha on Mumbai attacks, he said India has repeatedly given Pakistan a list of 40 terrorists, including Dawood Ibrahim [Images], with a demand that they be handed over and expressed hope that Islamabad [Images] would respond positively.

He asked Pakistan to come out of the denial mode on existence of terrorists, including non-state actors, who operate from the confines of that country as he wondered: "Did the non-state actors come from heaven, did the non-state actors come from another planet?"

Mukherjee also slammed Pakistan for creating war hysteria by indulging in propaganda on the basis of a hoax call that 'big power' India was going to attack.

"That is not the solution," he said when Shiv Sena member Mohan Rawale said India should attack Pakistan in the wake of the terror strikes.

Rubbishing efforts by Pakistan to link the terror strikes to non-resolution of Kashmir issue, Mukherjee asserted that such a 'simple formula' will not help solve the problem as the series of attacks in India are part of global terrorism.

"It (attacks) is not related to Jammu and Kashmir [Images] issue. It is part of global terrorism," Mukherjee said in the House amid repeated thumping of desks, significantly on both ruling and Opposition sides.

"It is complex..It is not that if Kashmir issue is solved, everything will be in place," the External Affairs Minister said.

Referring to the solemn assurances given by the then President Pervez Musharraf [Images] and his successor President Asif Ali Zardari [Images] to end terrorism emanating from Pakistan, he said 'expression of intent is not sufficient' and that Islamabad needs to act to convincing levels.

He pointed to the 'house arrest' of the LeT chief and said it was not convincing as even after the reported action by Pakistani authorities, Saeed was appearing on TV channels.

"What does house arrest mean? Laws, Indian Penal Code, in Pakistan are the same as in India, the names may be different. He should be either in judicial or police custody," Mukherjee said.

Suggesting that Pakistan could be indulging in non-serious actions against terrorism, he said the "same scenes were played out after the attack on Parliament in December 2001. The Lashkar-e-Tayiba was banned but it changed its name, the signboards were changed but the faces, ideology and activities remained the same."

Demanding complete dismantling of terror infrastructure existing in territories under Pakistan's control and end to infiltration, he told Islamabad "Please follow up (action) should be taken to its logical conclusion."

"It is not India-Pakistan issue, not a Jammu and Kashmir issue... Terrorism [Images] is not confined to borders of any country. It is an international phenomenon," Mukherjee said, describing terrorism as the biggest threat to the world post-Cold War.

Noting that terrorists have struck in important tourist places like Jaipur [Images], science and technology hub Bangalore, industrial hub Ahmedabad [Images] and financial capital Mumbai during the year, the External Affairs Minister said there is a 'design and method' behind these attacks.

"We tell Pakistan, please do not deny facts. Accept it," he said, as he observed that there was a sense of anger and outrage in India over the Mumbai attacks and people want the government to 'rise to the occasion and send a resolute message' to Pakistan.

During the debate which saw unusual unity between ruling and Opposition benches, Mukherjee asserted that India will not allow its 'territorial sovereignty and integrity to be played with' and 'nobody should dare to attack us. This message must be conveyed'.

Apparently hinting at the disconnect between the political leadership and military establishment in Pakistan that allows terrorists to operate from that country, he said Islamabad needs to address its internal problems and that New Delhi [Images] was ready to help in this regard.

Seeking to highlight this aspect, he said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] was promised that Director General of Inter Services Intelligence would visit India to help probe the Mumbai attacks. "But within hours, it was denied. It may be Pakistan's internal problem. They have to solve it. The international community should help."

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